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Monoprix: Casino offensive against the Galeries Lafayette

Monday Apr 23, 2012

 

The war between the Galeries Lafayette and Casino about their joint venture Monoprix changes dimension. The two shareholders clash since January on the valuation of 50% held by Monoprix and Galeries Lafayette: 700 million euro under Casino, 1.95 billion according to the owner of department store chain. The battle now drift on managing and Monoprix on its pricing policy.

Jacques Dumas, counsel Jean-Charles Naouri, principal shareholder and CEO of Casino, sent an April 17 letter to Philippe Houze scathing, president of Galeries Lafayette and Monoprix CEO. He criticized "an excessive increase in food prices" at Monoprix. The price index of the sign, which compares its rates to the market average (set at 100), rose from 107.7 at the end of first quarter 2011 to 110 a year later.

"This abnormal increase explains a significant share of the increased turnover of Monoprix end of March 2012 (+5.9% yoy) and corresponds to the bulk of the growth in operating profit in the same period," according Casino, which accuses her partner of "sharp to distort fair assessment" of Monoprix.

Pointing to the risk that rising prices does escape the consumer and leads to lower sales of the profitability of Monoprix, Casino Philippe Houze asked to "give instructions to stop such practices and ensure a normal management Monoprix" . Clearly, "Monoprix must return to an index of 108 tariff, as provided in the medium-term plan established in November," decrypts a spokesman for Casino.

The group Saint Etienne "will implement all actions necessary to safeguard the interests of Monoprix and its shareholder rights" against the Galeries Lafayette, prevents mail. In 2007, Casino revoked leaders Franprix and Leader Price, accusing them of having raised prices to give him a high price for their minority interests in these signs.

Monoprix group will choose a side

Philippe Houze's entourage speaks of "baseless accusations" and ensures that the increases, required in July by Jean-Charles Naouri, date from the summer. Casino considers that the increase, justified initially, was too strong and it continued beyond the reasonable in January.

In a few weeks, the Commercial Court of Paris will examine the respective assignments of the two co-shareholders of Monoprix. Galeries Lafayette blame their partner to hinder the evaluation process of their 50% stake in Monoprix, Casino accuses his partner of having refused to let the end of March to Jean-Charles Naouri President of Monoprix, as provided for their shareholders.

Mail Casino is a part added to the defense and the prosecution of the group against the Galeries Lafayette. But it will impact the management of Monoprix. Officially, its chief operating officer, Stephen Maquaire, placed a copy of the letter of Jacques Dumas, retains the confidence of its two shareholders. But he must choose sides or not returning to an index rate close to 108.

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